Saturday, May 27, 2017

Alleged Secret Trump Team-Sought Communication Channel with Russia

Alleged Secret Trump Team-Sought Communication Channel with Russia

by Stephen Lendman

Media reports about Trump’s son-in-law/senior advisor Jared Kushner allegedly discussing a secret communication channel between his transition team and Moscow through ambassador Sergey Kislyak deserves praise, not criticism if true.

According to the neocon/CIA-connected Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other media sources, the allegation comes from unnamed US officials, likely Obama administration holdovers, maintaining a steady drumbeat of dubious leaks to denigrate Trump. 

They claim Kushner suggested using Russian US-located diplomatic facilities for secret bilateral communications.

If Washington had normal relations with Moscow and other independent nations, Trump team’s efforts to establish bilateral communications wouldn’t have to be done quietly - if media reports alleging what happened are true.

World peace and stability depend on nations getting along with one another. US imperial aims for global dominance involve confrontations and other hostile acts.

Candidate Trump said it would be a good idea to get along with Moscow. As president, he hasn’t followed through responsibly. In Brussels talks with other NATO leaders, he referred to the “Russian threat,” knowing none exists.

If Kushner pursued a bilateral communication channel with Moscow for secret or open talks on vital issues, all to the good. 

Responsible interfacing “trumps” confrontation, the latter course what Obama and his neocon-infested administration pursued, maintaining hostile relations instead of improving them.

The White House and Russian embassy so far haven’t commented on Saturday media reports.

What’s disturbing isn’t that Trump’s team may have sought a secret communication channel as reported. It’s that US/Russia relations have to be pursued this way, not openly and normally, the way all nations should relate to others.

Washington bears full responsibility for this deplorable situation - not Moscow seeking cooperative relations with all countries.

Longstanding US policy seeks unchallenged global dominance, over allies and adversaries alike, not respect for the sovereign rights of all nations - why endless imperial wars rage.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

G7 Leaders Declare Escalated Phony War on Terror

G7 Leaders Declare Escalated Phony War on Terror

by Stephen Lendman

G7 countries America, Britain, Canada, France, and Germany (Italy and Japan junior partners) are responsible for global state terrorism, featuring endless imperial wars, aided by NATO, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other rogue states.

From Taormina, Italy on May 26, G7 leaders issued a joint statement “on the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, declaring escalated phony war on terror, saying the following:

“1. We, the Leaders of the G7, stand united in expressing our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims of the brutal terrorist act in Manchester in the United Kingdom. We condemn in the strongest possible terms terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

2. Countering terrorism and violent extremism, acts of which have struck G7 Members, as well as all regions of the world, regardless of country, nationality or belief, remains a major priority for the G7. We stand united in our joint endeavour to make sure that our citizens are safe and secure, and their values and way of life fully preserved, and will take the strongest action possible to find, identify, remove, and punish, as appropriate, terrorists and those who abet their activities.
3. We will bring the fight against terrorism to a higher level by relentlessly preventing, investigating and prosecuting terrorist acts, their perpetrators and supporters. 

Our shared system of values and norms, respect for human rights and cultural diversity, the promotion of fundamental freedoms and the principles on which our societies are built will remain a beacon for our common action and the first and best defence against this common threat. To this end, we remain committed to the full implementation of the G7 Action Plan adopted in Ise-Shima.
4. But the brutal attack in Manchester demonstrates that we must now redouble our efforts to turn these commitments into action. We agree to task our Interior Ministers to meet, as soon as possible, to focus on implementation of the following commitments and to work collectively with the private sector and civil society to defeat terrorism.
5. First, we will combat the misuse of the Internet by terrorists. While being one of the most important technological achievements in the last decades, the Internet has also proven to be a powerful tool for terrorist purposes. 

The G7 calls for Communication Service Providers and social media companies to substantially increase their efforts to address terrorist content. 

We encourage industry to act urgently in developing and sharing new technology and tools to improve the automatic detection of content promoting incitement to violence, and we commit to supporting industry efforts in this vein including the proposed industry-led forum for combatting online extremism. 

We will support the promotion of alternative and positive narratives rooted in our common values and with due respect to the principle of freedom of expression. We will counter propaganda supporting terrorism and violent extremism, online recruitment by extremists, radicalization and incitement to violence. 

To this end, we will increase our engagement with civil society, youth and religious leaders, detention facilities, and educational institutions.
6. Second, we will pursue a collective approach to managing the risk posed by foreign fighters as they disperse from theatres of conflict. 

We will pool resources to build capacity in transit and destination countries to manage the threat of traveling and returning foreign fighters, focusing in particular on upstream development where greatest effect can be achieved. 

We will offer our expertise and resources to develop legal pathways in order to return foreign fighters to their country of origin. We will commit to greater knowledge-sharing of known individuals who have travelled to Daesh/al-Qaeda territory. 

We will cooperate on the upstream collection of battlefield evidence to enable prosecution of returning foreign fighters. We will put measures in place for those, such as vulnerable women and children, who cannot be prosecuted, ensuring compliance with international human rights standards.
7. Third, we will refocus our efforts and take action to cut off sources and channels of terrorist financing and the financing of violent extremism. 

Because funds are the lifeblood of violent extremists and terrorists, countering the financing of violent extremists who radicalize youth around the globe and threaten our national interests. 

We will, therefore, maintain our support for the work carried out by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and recognize the importance of improved information sharing between G7 financial intelligence units as well as better cooperation between other competent authorities and with the private sector. 

We will employ targeted financial sanctions to disrupt their support networks, and we will strengthen G7 cooperation on these sanctions. We unequivocally reiterate our resolve not to pay ransoms to terrorists.
8. Beyond this, we remain committed to strengthening cooperation among our border agencies - and those of our partners - and to supporting the expansion of the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) and Advance Passenger Information (API) in traveler screening. 

We reiterate the importance of filling gaps in API use at international level, and note the critical importance of API as an effective instrument in the fight against terrorism - and in stemming the flow of foreign fighters and in monitoring their return.
9. We will also continue to play a key role in countering terrorist facilitation; the diversion of weapons into the hands of terrorists, preventing and countering radicalization to violence; facilitating information sharing; dismantling connections between terrorism and transnational organized crime; and promoting better implementation of effective, proportionate and risk-based aviation security measures. 

We will strongly encourage and support third countries to improve their protective security. We will reinforce cooperation among ourselves and intensify partnership with third countries, as an essential element of the global action to counter terrorism, in order to implement all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and international instruments, including the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC). 

We will continue to support the UN Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and the UN’s Global Counterterrorism Strategy.
10. We are also committed to supporting INTERPOL in its information-sharing functions. We will further enhance connectivity of priority partner countries to its Database System and continue to assess how we can jointly accelerate this endeavor.
11. We are convinced of the distinctive role of culture as an instrument to fight terrorism. Cultivating culture is a way to foster tolerance and dialogue among peoples, mutual understanding, religious pluralism, and recognition and respect for diversity. 

Culture contributes to the preservation of identity and the memory of mankind, encourages dialogue and exchanges among nations, and, ultimately, can be an extraordinary instrument to prevent radicalization and violent extremism, especially among youth.
12. We also affirm our strong determination to cooperate in protecting cultural heritage and countering the looting and trafficking of cultural property. 

Such property is a source of financing for activities of terrorist groups and organizations, but also as a heinous means to eradicate cultural diversity from the territories under their control.

13. We commit ourselves to steering international and regional organizations and entities towards implementing effective, efficient, and focused capacity-building and technical assistance programs in areas such as countering violent extremism, combating the financing of terrorism, enhancing border and aviation security, and strengthening cyber-related capacities.
14. Since the lack of social and economic inclusiveness and opportunities may contribute to the rise of terrorism and violent extremism, we commit to address these issues through a comprehensive approach linking together security, social inclusion, and development. 

G7 efforts to promote pluralism, tolerance, and gender equality such as cross-cultural and interfaith dialogue will boost the effectiveness of our action against terrorism and violent extremism.
15. Our action against terrorism and violent extremism is rooted in a common system of values, which will continue to provide a solid foundation for our concerted and coordinated action. 

We emphasize that all counterterrorism efforts must be based on the common principles of democracy, respect of human rights, and the rule of law. As we tackle the major challenges of disrupting terrorist financing and the financing of violent extremism, managing the return of foreign terrorist fighters from conflict areas and addressing the associated risks for regional stability, countering the widespread use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, and addressing the root causes of radicalization to violence, we will continue to rely on the heritage established by the G7 within the wider international community.”

Comment:

Ignore all the rubbish about concern for democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms, sympathy for Manchester (state terrorism) victims, “mak(ing) sure our citizens are safe and secure, and their values and way of life fully preserved,” along with all their other phony high-minded rhetoric.

Focus only on their Machiavellian evil, their war on humanity, their police state harshness, their service to powerful interests at the expense of the general welfare.

That’s what these rogue states and their complicit allies are all about.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Palestinian Political Prisoners Suspend Hunger Strike

Palestinian Political Prisoners Suspend Hunger Strike

by Stephen Lendman

On Saturday, after 40 grueling days and nights, exacerbated by brutal Israeli treatment, hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners suspended their Freedom and Dignity hunger strike - after reaching partial agreement on their demands.

Israel claims no direct talks were held, none with strike leader/Palestinian national hero Marwan Barghouti, no concessions made, other than reinstating two family visits monthly.

According to the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs head Issa Qaraqe, more than 20 hours of talks between the ICRC, the PA, Barghouti and prison authorities in Ashkelon prison reached agreement to suspend the strike.

It came on the first day of Ramadan. Some prisoners vowed to continue fasting, abstaining from salt and water along with food.

Palestinian leaders claimed “victory,” calling the agreement an “important step towards full respect of the rights of Palestinian prisoners.”

It’s unclear if other demands were met, more information to come later. According to Qaraqe and Palestinian Prisoners Society head Qaddura Fares, talks were at a standstill until Israeli authorities let Barghouti  participate, what they adamantly refused to do earlier

Throughout the ordeal, Mahmoud Abbas paid lip service alone to harsh prison conditions, the suffering of strikers and their rightful demands. Trump administration officials ignored their brutal treatment entirely.

A Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network statement said “(a)ll salutes to the courageous, struggling Palestinian prisoners, on the front lines of the Palestinian struggle for liberation!” 

“Their victories and their struggles are those of the Palestinian people and of all people seeking justice and liberation.”

“And salutes to all of those around the world who have been part of the prisoners’ struggle and Palestinian victory for the past 40 days.”

Partial victory is little consolation for decades of suffering, especially with Israeli authorities likely to reneged on what was agreed to - like they always do on dealings with Palestinians and others.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Manchester Blast: Likely State-Sponsored Terrorism

Manchester Blast: Likely State-Sponsored Terrorism

by Stephen Lendman

Evidence known so far strongly indicates state-sponsored responsibility for the May 22 Manchester blast. 

ISIS claiming responsibility is baloney. Like al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, it’s supported by America, Britain, other NATO nations, Israel and other regional rogue states. Why would it bite one of the hands feeding it?

Alleged suicide bomber Salman Abedi perished so is unable to tell tales. He’s a convenient patsy to blame for what happened. So are others arrested as suspected accomplices. 

The pattern is familiar, ordinary people unaware they’re being duped. Incidents like Manchester are conveniently timed against strategically chosen targets for maximum effect and what’s planned to follow.

Post-9/11 horrors are well documented. America declared endless war on humanity, targeting one sovereign independent nation after another for regime change, others yet to come.

The 9/11 incident provided a treasure trove of giveaways, showing what happened was other than the official narrative. 

The most obvious was how could a handful of terrorists outwit America’s 16 intelligence agencies, including sophisticated NSA eavesdropping on anyone or anything suspicious back then and now?

No evidence implicates ISIS, al-Qaeda or other likeminded groups for any high-profile US or European terrorist incidents - all of them false flags.

The official 9/11 story was beginning-to-end contradictions, disinformation and Big Lies - still supported by media scoundrels despite volumes of evidence proving otherwise.

Bin Laden was dying of natural causes in a Pakistan hospital, reported by CBS on 9/10/01. The New York Times and other sources reported his death in December 2001. Obama did not kill Osama. The Big Lie persists. 

The 9/11 mother of all false flags still links so-called Arab terrorists to what happened. Most named were discovered alive and well in their home countries, mainly Saudi Arabia.

Claims about Mohamed Atta’s luggage found at Boston’s Logan Airport containing “decisive evidence” about Al Qaeda’s responsibility were fake - including a Saudi passport, an alleged letter saying he planned martyrdom to go to heaven, video instructions on flying Boeing airliners, and other belongings. They were planted to blame Al Qaeda for what happened.

A key unanswered question was why Atta’s alleged luggage wasn’t on the flight he was accused of hijacking and piloting. Travelers don’t leave belongings behind when boarding flights or disembarking to reach destinations.

No one ever explained why Atta went to Portland, ME from Boston on September 10, necessitating an early return the next day to be on Flight 11.

Another passport allegedly belonging to one of the hijackers was mysteriously found near the Twin Towers site, miraculously not burned by ignited jet fuel. 

While the events of 9/11 were unfolding, Secret Service agents let George Bush remain at a Sarasota, FL school for 30 minutes after learning about the second twin tower strike. Standard procedure calls for immediately securing the president’s safety in case of potential danger.

Architects, structural engineers and other knowledgeable professionals know it’s scientifically impossible for jet fuel to heat high enough to melt or cause rigid steel columns to crumble.

Controlled demolitions destroyed both towers. Building 7 fell the same way. A likely cruise missile, not an aircraft, struck the Pentagon. No bodies or aircraft parts were found at the site.

Numerous other Big Lies and contradictions completely destroyed the official 9/11 narrative.

False flags are a longstanding Western tradition - Manchester likely the latest, the official account already beginning to unravel like explanations of similar earlier incidents.

Following a previous false flag attack, an independent media-published cartoon showed an individual dressed in black, a suicide vest strapped to his chest, his finger on the triggering mechanism, saying “s..t, I forgot my passport” - mocking the absurdity of a criminal leaving identifying documents at the scene of a crime, making it easy to be named as a convenient patsy.

Alleged Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi’s bankcard was found in his pocket, an obvious red flag, suggesting something rotten in the official narrative of what happened and who was responsible.

Abedi was ID’d by anonymous US officials hours before UK police, the most obvious red flag. Whenever a violent domestic incident makes headlines for days, drowning out other news, be very suspicious.

What happened is likely something other than what’s officially reported. Was the Manchester blast jointly planned by US and British intelligence? Was Israel’s Mossad involved?

The incident happened ahead of June 8 snap UK elections. A previous article cited a Sunday Times YouGov poll, showing Tory leader Theresa May’s lead over Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn at nine points, half her last week’s advantage, enough time left perhaps to further shrink it sufficiently to make for a close race. 

Was Monday’s blast an attempt to shore up public support for May-led Tories, a false flag aiming to assure their hold on power, portraying them as tougher on alleged terrorism than Corbyn-led Labour? 

It appears so, along with likely creating another pretext for pursuing diabolical policies. Will it work? We’ll know if Tories benefit in less than two weeks and escalated imperial wars follow. 

On Friday, G7 leaders in Sicily (including Theresa May and Trump) signed a joint declaration on countering terrorism and violent extremism.

It “priorit(izes)” the fight,  pledging to elevate efforts “to a higher effort by relentlessly preventing, investigating and prosecuting terrorist acts, the perpetrators and supporters.”

The only terrorist threat ordinary people should fear is state-sponsored - including endless imperial wars, imposition of draconian state of emergency conditions and repressive laws, resulting in loss of fundamental freedoms on the phony pretext of assuring greater security.

Who benefits from incidents like Manchester is obvious - governments able to usurp greater powers to pursue diabolical policies at home and abroad by deceiving ordinary people to believe it’s for their safety and security.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Another AUMF Introduced

Another AUMF Introduced

by Stephen Lendman

Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) empowering the president to use all “necessary and appropriate force” in response to 9/11 unleashed endless wars on humanity at home and abroad.

Senators Jeff Flake (R. AZ) and Tim Kaine (D. VA) introduced new AUMF legislation on the phony pretext of combating ISIS, al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Earlier, Rep. Adam Schiff (D. CA) introduced a similar House measure. So did Flake and Kaine in mid-2015.

On Thursday, a joint statement by both senators claimed “numerous terrorist organizations” like ISIS didn’t exist in 2001 - without explaining US responsibility for creating them to serves its imperial interests.

Their draft AUMF legislation “authoriz(ing) military action against (ISIS, al-Qaeda and the Taliban), gives Congress an oversight role it currently lacks over who can be considered to be ‘associated’ with the terrorist groups and in which countries military action can take place, and provides an expedited process for Congress to re-authorize this AUMF in five years. Lastly, it repeals the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs.”

Flake: “Congressional authorization for the use of military force against ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban will make clear to our allies and our adversaries that we are united in our resolve.”

Kaine: “We owe it to the American public to define the scope of the US mission against terrorist organizations, including ISIS, and we owe it to our troops to show we’re behind them in their mission.”

If congressionally passed and signed into law by Trump, another AUMF will assure escalating and expanding US wars of aggression on the phony pretext of combating terrorism.

America created and supports ISIS, al-Qaeda and likeminded terrorist groups. Taliban roots go back to CIA-recruited, armed and supported Mujahideen fighters against Afghanistan’s Soviet Russia occupiers in the 1980s.

Ronald Reagan called them “the moral equivalent of our founding fathers.” Today they’re Taliban fighters, combating illegal US war, occupation and plunder of their country.

Flake/Kaine’s draft AUMF calls for waging phony war on terror anywhere globally, beyond current US war theaters.

If passed by both houses and signed into law by Trump, another AUMF will assure greater war on humanity than already - including likely escalated NATO involvement in US aggression to destroy Syrian sovereignty and oust Assad.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Hawkish Russophobe Zbigniew Brzezinski Passes

Hawkish Russophobe Zbigniew Brzezinski Passes

by Stephen Lendman

He served as geopolitical counselor to Lyndon Johnson, later as Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor.

At Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, he was Robert E. Osgood Professor of American Foreign Policy.

He was a Center for Strategic and International Studies counselor, trustee, and advisory board member. 

He directed master spider David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission, created to address the crisis of democracy - too much of it, along with pursuing America’s imperial agenda.

His 1997 book titled “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives” was a blueprint for advancing America’s imperium.

He was militantly Russophobic. In an earlier Washington Quarterly article titled “Putin and Beyond,” he said “(t)he West’s strategy should not be built upon making things pleasant or convenient for Russia. Making Russia a partner at any cost is not what the West needs today.”

In 1979, he got Jimmy Carter to sign a secret directive, authorizing aid for Afghanistan Mujahadeen fighters (today’s Taliban) combating the pro-Soviet Russia government in Kabul, aiming to induce Moscow’s military intervention which followed, what he called “the Afghan trap.”

He later explained, saying “(a)ccording to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979.” 

“But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.” 

“And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.”

“We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.”

Asked in hindsight if he regretted his action, he responded saying:

“Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it?” 

“The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.” 

“Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.”

“What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”

Supporting Afghan Mujahadeen fighters was prelude to America’s global war on terror, creating and supporting ISIS, al-Qaeda and likeminded groups, using them as imperial foot soldiers in multiple US war theaters.

Brzezinski’s “Afghan trap” began it all. What he had no regrets for led to millions of casualties in US imperial wars - ongoing in multiple theaters, raping and destroying countries, risking possible cataclysmic nuclear war.

On May 26, Brzezinski died at age 89. A special place in hell awaits him.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Friday, May 26, 2017

G7 Summit Excludes Russia and China

G7 Summit Excludes Russia and China

by Stephen Lendman

The self-styled seven major industrialized democracies are profoundly undemocratic - Russia excluded since 2014 over nonexistent aggression in Ukraine.

The world’s second largest economy, China, certain to become its dominant one, isn’t invited. Since the 1980s, the EU has been represented as a “nonenumerated” participant. 

It’s Trump’s maidan G7 involvement, his last stop on a foreign trip begun last weekend, ending with two days in Sicily.

He and other G7 leaders will discuss phony war on terrorism, aggressive ones on Syria and other targeted nations, possible one on North Korea, environment policies, trade and other economic and financial issues.

White House chief economic advisor/former Goldman Sachs president and CEO Gary Cohn acknowledged Trump calling Germany “very bad” for flooding America with its cars.

Der Spiegel quoted him in Brussels with NATO leaders, saying “(t)he Germans are bad, very bad. Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US…(W)e’ll stop that.”

In a January interview with German broadsheet Bild, he said “(y)ou can build cars for the United States, but for every car that comes to the USA, you will pay a 35% tax.”

Germany has a huge trade surplus with America. So do China, Japan and other countries. Trump isn’t likely to change things despite his rhetoric. 

It’s not an issue with US corporate giants operating globally, locating plants in low-wage countries, why America’s manufacturing base eroded to where it is now.

In 2016, the US trade deficit in goods was $734 billion. Cohn said expect “robust discussion” on this issue with other G7 leaders.

Last year, Russia bashing was featured, irresponsibly blaming Putin for US-orchestrated/Kiev aggression on Donbass.

G7 countries are belligerents, Russia the world’s preeminent peacemaker - against violence and instability, going all-out for resolving conflicts diplomatically, bashed for opposing America’s imperial agenda.

This year’s summit began ceremonially at an ancient Greek theater. Warships patrolled. Fighter jets flew overhead.

Talks are being held in San Domenico Palace, a one-time Dominican monastery, now a luxury five-star hotel.

G7 summits produce lots of talk and photo-ops, little action, this year likely little different from previous ones.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Appeals Court Rules Revised Trump Travel Ban Unconstitutional

Appeals Court Rules Revised Trump Travel Ban Unconstitutional

by Stephen Lendman

Straightaway in office, Trump continued war on Islam begun by his predecessors - waging naked aggression abroad, along with banning Muslim immigration from seven countries on the phony pretext of preventing terrorist attacks.

High-profile ones attributed to Muslims were state-sponsored false flags, including 9/11, the mother of them all.

America needs enemies to justify imperial wars, Muslim Arabs its designated one of choice, wrongfully portrayed as violent, fanatical and dangerous.

Trump’s travel ban was struck down at the federal and appeals court levels. A revised one followed - as Islamophobic as the initial one.

Both versions have nothing to do with border control and keeping the nation safe from foreign terrorists, as claimed - everything to do with fear-mongering and waging war on Islam.

On Thursday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court injunction blocking Trump’s travel ban, saying it “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”

Chief circuit judge Roger Gregory added: “Congress granted the President broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute.” 

“It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the President wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation.”

Trump’s ban targets people on the basis of their religious beliefs in nations ravaged by US aggression and/or opposed to its imperial agenda - not for any threat its population poses to national security.

In response to Thursday’s ruling, Attorney General Sessions said “(t)his Department of Justice will continue to vigorously defend the power and duty of the Executive Branch to protect the people of this country from danger, and will seek review of this case in the United States Supreme Court.”

It’ll have final say. However it rules, this issue will be around for a long time. Trump’s order ignited a firestorm of opposition.

If upheld by the Supreme Court, a future Congress may strike it down legislatively - by a veto-proof margin if necessary or with a new administration in power.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Thumbs Down CBO Score on Trumpcare 2.0

Thumbs Down CBO Score on Trumpcare 2.0

by Stephen Lendman

House passed Trumpcare is heartless legislation, designed to deny millions of Americans the most fundamental of human rights, along with food, shelter and clothing, so business and high-net worth individuals can get huge tax cuts - including Trump family members and cronies.

According to CBO scoring, at least 23 million of America’s most vulnerable will lose coverage, many millions more forced to be way underinsured.

Instead of everyone covered at lower cost, Trumpcare 2.0 assures higher premiums with skimpier coverage than under deplorable Obamacare - through stiffer deductibles and higher out-of-pocket costs.

Individuals with pre-existing conditions and older Americans will be especially hard hit. Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans lied, claiming the GOP plan assures coverage for all costing less than now.

The CBO estimates Trumpcare 2.0 will cut around $300 billion in subsidies to low and moderate income Americans now available through Obamacare.

States waiving ACA consumer protections let insurers shut out individuals with serious pre-existing conditions - unable to buy coverage at any price, according to CBO’s analysis. Insurers won’t take them unless legislation mandates otherwise.

Less healthy individuals will face “extremely high premiums…continu(ing) to increase rapidly” ahead, according to CBO.

Some plans won’t cover major medical risks, and won’t “provide enough financial protection in the event of a serious and costly illness to be considered insurance,” CBO explained.

Along with individuals with pre-existing conditions and older Americans, others most at risk are those needing maternity care, mental health and substance use treatment, or requiring expensive drugs.

Even in states maintaining consumer protections, coverage will cost more than now, except for younger healthier people.

Slashing over $800 billion from Medicaid over the next decade is a major step toward ending the program altogether - Medicare and Social Security eventual targets.

America works for its rich and powerful, increasingly nightmarish for the vast majority.

Americans for Tax Fairness executive director Frank Clemente put it this way:

“(B)etween Trump’s healthcare bill and his budget, (he’s) breaking three core promises he made to his supporters over and over again: that he wouldn’t cut Medicaid, that he wouldn’t cut Social Security, and no one would lose their health insurance.” 

“Why? So that millionaires, billionaires, and corporations can get giant tax cuts. Does the president think it’s worth breaking core promises to his working-class voters in order to deliver giant bags of cash to his CEO friends” and high-net-worth ones like himself?

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Trump's Phony War on Terror

Trump’s Phony War on Terror

by Stephen Lendman

America’s war on terror is a colossal hoax. None exists, not now or earlier. 

At least since Reagan declared war on international terrorism, US administrations supported, and continue supporting, the scourge they claim to oppose - notably post-9/11.

State-sponsored scoundrel media disinformation deceives the public to believe otherwise. 

Propaganda works. Most Americans don’t know they’ve been had - lied to by their government, deceived by media scoundrels, unaware of what’s going on and what’s ominously at stake.

Today is the most perilous time in world history. Daily events should scare everyone. Endless wars rage, new ones likely planned. 

America’s crusade for global dominance risks possible catastrophic nuclear confrontation - on the Korean peninsula, in the Middle East, and/or against Russia, maybe China. 

Neocons infesting Washington make the unthinkable possible, believing they can win a nuclear war, madness if launched.

On Thursday, Trump came to NATO headquarters in Brussels to enlist greater alliance support for America’s imperial project - on the phony pretext of combating terrorism its members support. 

He now loves what he called “obsolete” before elected president. Addressing other alliance leaders, he ignored ongoing US wars on humanity - instead saying the May 22 Manchester blast “demonstrates the depths of the evil we face with terrorism.”

It’s headquartered in Washington, supported by European, Middle East and other countries, likely heading for greater conflicts than already - ISIS and other terrorist groups used as imperial foot soldiers.

Trump claiming Middle East leaders he met with in Riyadh “agreed…to stop funding this” scourge was willful deception.

America, NATO, Israel, and other rogue regional nations support what Trump called “a common threat to all of humanity.”

“Terrorism (won’t be) stopped in its tracks” as long as Washington uses its death squads to advance its imperium.

Nor are improved relations with Moscow likely, Trump saying “(t)he NATO of the future (must) focus on…threats from Russia and on (the alliance’s) eastern and southern borders” - despite none existing except invented ones to continue waging wars of aggression.

Trump wants NATO members spending more on militarism and belligerence, aiding America’s imperial agenda, diverting resources for warmaking instead of social justice priorities.

It’s “not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States” to spend less than he demands. His “bare minimum” 2% of GDP goal is resisted by other alliance members.

“Twenty-three of 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying,” he blustered - ludicrously claiming many alliance members “owe massive amounts of money from past years…”

NATO is a US-dominated killing machine, an imperial tool comprising around one-third of world nations as members and partners.

Washington wants participation on every continent serving US interests - prioritizing endless wars, wanting all independent governments eliminated.

World peace, stability and survival depend on eliminating the threat US-dominated NATO represents. Its existence hangs like a sword of Damocles over humanity.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

The NYT Reinvents NATO's Killing Machine

The NYT Reinvents NATO’s Killing Machine

by Stephen Lendman

NATO’s existence prevents world peace and stability. Serving America’s imperial agenda, it’s humanity’s greatest threat.

Not according to NYT editors, disgracefully calling the alliance “the anchor of Western security…(its) nations mostly democracies with vibrant free markets…have helped America keep enemies at bay…”

Fantasy democracies comprise NATO, not legitimate ones. So-called “free markets” aren’t fair, serving monied interests exclusively at the expense of general welfare, exploiting people for profit.

America’s only enemies are ones it invents. No others exist - except truth-telling exposing its sinister agenda.

Times editors criticized Trump for not “endorsing the mutual defense pledge at the heart of the alliance.”

Responsible editors would urge disbanding NATO, what should have happened after Soviet Russia’s 1991 dissolution.

Instead, it expanded east, provocatively encroaching on Russia’s borders, a reckless policy heading perhaps for direct confrontation by accident or design.

Times editors: NATO is “an indisputably important alliance that has kept the peace for 70 years…”

Fact: So-called peace includes US-led NATO aggression since the 1990s, escalated dramatically post-9/11. The alliance is all about warmaking, not fostering peace and stability.

Times editors: NATO’s importance is “more pressing in view of Mr. Trump’s enthusiastic embrace of countless autocrats, among them Vladimir Putin and king Salman of Saudi Arabia…”

Fact: Democratic governance under Putin shames America’s sham version.

Fact: US “enthusiastic embrace” of rogue regimes is longstanding - notably allying with Israel and oil-rich Middle East ones.

Times editors: Trump failed to express “a robust endorsement of the NATO Treaty’s Article 5” - considering an armed attack (real or contrived) against one or more members an attack against all, collective self-defense called for.

Virtually no chance of an attack on any NATO country exists - surely not by Russia, China or Iran.

Not according to Times editors, hyping the long ago discredited canard about nonexistent “Russian aggression,” along with phony accusations of Kremlin meddling in US and European elections.

Times editors: “…Mr. Trump’s commitment to NATO and America’s tradition of leadership remain very much up in the air. Should the president abdicate both, no one would be happier than Vladimir Putin.”

Instead of responsible journalism, The Times operates as a virtual press agent for wealth, power and privilege, featuring disinformation and fake news, suppressing truth-telling on vital issues.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Electricity Crisis in Gaza

Electricity Crisis in Gaza

by Stephen Lendman

Gaza’s chronic electricity shortage endangers its two million residents - ruthlessly besieged by Israel for the past decade, their suffering ignored by Trump on his trip to Israel.

In late April, the Palestinian Authority (PA) notified Netanyahu’s regime it would stop paying for electricity supplied to the Strip, its cost deducted from taxes Israel collects from Palestinians.

Fatah-run PA and Hamas disagree over cost, at times forcing Gaza’s sole power plant to curtail operations.

About 80% of Gaza’s electricity comes from Israel, the rest from Egypt. When all power sources are delivering at optimal levels, demand is double the amount of electricity supplied.

Gazans get only about about 12 hours or less daily, worsening humanitarian crisis conditions, disrupting water pumping stations, sewage disposal and treatment facilities, along with compromising the ability of hospitals to operate properly.

Farmers haven’t enough water to irrigate crops. Factories, other business and residential households can’t function properly.

Lack of adequate sanitation and sewage disposal polluted offshore waters, increasing chances of illnesses and diseases.

The PA and Hamas are at loggerheads at the expense of millions of suffering Gazans. Israel remains punitive, the PA and international community dismissive of severe crisis conditions.

Israel intends reducing already dangerously inadequate amounts of electricity to Gaza - at the PA’s request over a dispute with Hamas, and the Abbas-led regime wanting a significant cost reduction.

After earlier saying it would stop paying for Gaza’s electricity altogether, the PA now indicates it’ll cover what Israel and Egypt supply.

Weeks earlier, Gaza’s sole power plant shut down after Turkish and Qatari funding stopped, the Strip left with less than eight hours of power daily.

The ICRC and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned of devastating crisis conditions if things aren’t responsibly resolved.

Earlier the UN warned Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020 if Israeli siege continues, along with wars at its discretion.

The Strip already is unfit and unsafe to live in. Nothing in prospect suggests positive change.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.